I actually enjoy networking. I know, I know, you think I’m crazy. But don’t stop reading – because, I have not always enjoyed networking. It is a learned skill. Like everything you do, there is a level of discomfort and a learning curve. However, if you prepare yourself for success, you will find success.
I’ve compiled a list of 10 easy networking tips to achieve your best success. In short, make it work for you. Face to face communication and interaction is imperative for successful business growth. As a result, networking will be instrumental in building your business.
10 networking tips
- Do it – Bite the frog*. To sum up, make yourself uncomfortable. Buy your tickets, there’s no going back now.
- Stalk it – First, if you can, read through the list of attendees in advance and pick out 10 that you want to speak with. Second, stalk them on social. That is to say, learn basic information about them. For instance, what they look like and at least their company name. Further, and even better, find out what they actually do.
- Set it – In other words, set your goal. Meaning, you are going to meet 10 new people today. Not any 10 people, 10 new people. Some networkers say, I am going to get 10 new business cards. That’s great, do that. However, you also need to have a conversation. For example, learn something and share something.
- Pitch it – What is your purpose behind going to this event. Once you know this, then you know the angle of your pitch. Above all, know what you are going to say about yourself and your company. To clarify, practice your elevator pitch. The pitch is an opportunity to engage, collaborate, and participate in the development of your idea. Above all, don’t just think of your pitch as a traditional 30-second sales promo. Think creatively and have several pitches loaded and ready. This will allow you to stand apart from your competition and be memorable.
- Question it – Have a set of questions in your mind that you will use to keep the conversation going. Think open ended questions. To clarify, this is where knowing who will be there will help. Consider who your target market is at this event. For instance, at an I Said Yes! to Networking event, attendees are 90% wedding industry. So you could ask questions like…Have you done any weddings at this venue? What was your favorite part of that wedding? Or have you always been in the industry? In the same vein, be more specific with, do you have chair and linen rentals? Or how many coordinators do you have on your team?
- Carry it – You need to have something to hand to them to remember you. Business card, postcard or a Popl.
- Take it – Take their card, or postcard, or scan their digital business card. This will help you remember who you need to follow up with after you leave.
- Work it – Don’t be friendly. That is to say, we all love to hang out with our friends, but they already know us. You go to networking to WORK – it’s actually in the word networking. So, sit with people you don’t know. Subsequently they become a captive audience and you have more time to share. If you want to see your friends, schedule a cup of coffee or drinks afterward.
- Follow it – Text/Call/Email/DM. Whatever your preferred form of contact is, use it. In short, follow up. Tell them it was great to meet them and discuss XYZ with you. Then set the conversation to continue. For example, let’s do coffee next week, or can I tour your venue next week. In addition, will you be at the next I Said Yes! to Networking event? Keep the conversation going.
- Repeat it – Continue to build connections and relationships. Remember you need to have a purpose for attending the event. Further, that purpose may change depending on your current situation or the particular event you are attending. So always do steps 1 through 9 before you go.
Video from an I Said Yes FL! Networking Event
Contributing wedding professionals for event featured in video:
Photographer: Alexis Kline Photography
Venue: Bella Collina
Rental Design: Ocean Hawks Rentals
Floral Design: In Bloom Florist
DJ: FyerFly Productions
Musician: RLE3 Music
Linen: Over The Top
Planner and Designer: At Last Wedding + Event Design
Event Host: I Said Yes! FL
*The bite the frog reference is from a quote by Mark Twain, “If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.” Therefore, bite the frog and do the hard thing, go network.